High River United Church of High River, Alberta

High River United Celebrates 135th Anniversary

In 1885, the Presbyterians at The Crossing (as High River was known at the time) established the first church in town.  In 1925, they joined with the Methodist church in town forming High River United Church.  This year, 2020, we celebrate the 135 years in which we have been privileged to offer a compassionate ministry of help, home and hope in this community and beyond.


The roots of High River United go back to the first Methodist and Presbyterian missionaries, Rev. John MacLean aka Buckskin Shorty and Rev. Angus Robertson.   Buckskin Shorty, arrived with his wife Sarah, on the scene at The Crossing (for stagecoaches) of the Highwood River about 1880.  He was a Methodist missionary based in Fort MacLeod.  On trips to Calgary, he would hold services at Buck’s Stopping House, the stagecoach stop, which stood on our present location.  He held services in the waiting room and the poker games in the next room would stop while he preached.  He welcomed poker chips as contributions in the offering plate and always cashed them in with the game banker before heading on his way.  It was said that he chewed tobacco and wore his buckskin shirt even in the hottest July weather.  Buckskin Shorty laid the foundation for the Methodist congregation which dedicated its building in 1902 on the location on 3rd Ave. where the mall now stands. This “round” Methodist church still stands on 4th Ave S.E. and is now a private home but was at one point used by the Church of the Nazarene.


Rev. Angus Robertson, Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Susan, were appointed to Calgary in 1883, after having spent years doing a circuit in southern Alberta. He organized the first official congregation, the Presbyterian congregation, at The Crossing in 1885.  The Presbyterians built the first church, Chalmers Presbyterian, in this area in 1891 on the east portion of what is now the site of Spitzee School.  Because the Presbyterian congregation was the first to build here, the Dominion of Canada Government gave them 40 acres of land on the southeast side of the Highwood River to be used for church purposes.  The congregation decided that the land was unsuitable for church use and so only one acre was kept.  The Acre was turned into a cemetery which was maintained by the Presbyterians until 1914 but was open for use by all denominations. 


We are grateful for the many ways that God has blessed this congregation and the work we do to be a welcoming, inclusive and affirming place within this community.  We believe that God's compassionate love enfolds every person without judgement, as shown to us in Jesus, whose Way we follow.   In the words of a longtime member of High River United (now passed away), Ruth Frey: 

May all who worship here experience reconciliation and peace

                 at the cross at The Crossing in the healing atmosphere of the Medicine Tree.

     May God’s grace bring you comfort and strength and joy in His Service.


In gratitude and hope, we celebrate 135 years!

Rev Angus Robertson 1880s                   Rev John MacLean

                                                                 Rev. John MacLean - Buckskin Shorty



Christmas Market @ High River United
Created On Monday, 29 November 2021
The Market runs from November 29 through December 17 during office hours - 9:00 to Noon and 1:00...
Give a Gift of Hope
Created On Monday, 29 November 2021

Prayers for Southern B.C.
Created On Wednesday, 17 November 2021
Our beloved community of faith wishes to send our heart felt and compassion-filled prayers and...
Rev. Susan's Lukey Book - Adventures in Faith and Family
Created On Tuesday, 12 October 2021
is available now at High River United Church. Just released - this is a book for parents,...



123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


Contact Us Page

Sign In or Register
Not Registered Yet?

If you have no website account, click the SIGNUP link below and then confirm your account through email.

Reset My password - Remind Me My username

Remember me